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Nancy Pelosi's Grip on House Slips (a little seismic shifting here)
Politico ^ | March 9, 2010 | Jonathan Allen

Posted on 03/09/2010 8:50:39 AM PST by Mrs. Don-o

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is not accustomed to the word she’s been hearing far more frequently in recent days: “no.”

Over the past two weeks, Pelosi has faced a series of subtle but significant challenges to her authority — revolts from Democrats on the Ways and Means Committee, the Congressional Black Caucus, the Blue Dog Coalition and politically vulnerable first- and second-term members.

The dynamic stems from an “every man for himself” attitude developing in the Democratic Caucus rather than a loss of respect for Pelosi, according to a senior Democratic aide. But it’s making Pelosi’s life — and efforts to maintain Democratic unity — harder.

And it’s noteworthy, in part, because Pelosi’s signature strength has been a firmer hand than past Democratic leaders — an aptitude for wielding raw power in a consensus-minded caucus.

But her inability — or unwillingness — to dictate when Rep. Charles Rangel would resign his Ways and Means Committee chairmanship and who would replace him is one sign that she is commanding the caucus with less authority.

Although he would give up his gavel the next day, Rangel defiantly pronounced he was still chairman after leaving a come-to-Jesus meeting last Tuesday night in Pelosi’s ceremonial office next to the House floor. Her first choice to succeed him, Pete Stark of California, was rejected by the Ways and Means Committee members, as was her plan to split power on the committee between Stark and Rep. Sander Levin of Michigan. Pelosi’s backers said that what she really wanted was to avoid a fight for the gavel — and that she succeeded by refusing to apply a heavy hand.

But a veteran Democratic lawmaker told POLITICO the denouement was “an indication that things aren’t all hunky-dory.”

That episode came immediately on the heels of Pelosi’s 180-degree turn on Rangel. After the ethics committee admonished him for breaking House gift rules, Pelosi issued a public message that she would stand by Rangel until the committee completed its look at other allegations against him.

“We’ll just see what happens next and what comes out of the ethics committee,” she said then.

But politically vulnerable Democrats sent a message right back: They would dump him if she didn’t.

Before leaders could gather last Tuesday to plan their week, politically imperiled Democratic lawmakers from around the country were making clear that they would vote with Republicans to strip Rangel of his chairmanship if Pelosi didn’t avert a floor vote by getting him to step down.

Even on legislative matters, Pelosi has been subject to low-grade insurrections. She was unable to send a $15 billion Senate-passed jobs bill directly to the president because members of the Congressional Black Caucus, the conservative Blue Dog Coalition and the Transportation Committee objected to some items that were in the bill and some that were absent.

CBC members said the measure shouldn’t even be called a “jobs bill” because, in their view, it would do little to create jobs.

Pelosi satisfied enough recalcitrant Democrats to amend the bill and send it back to the Senate last week — but not before 38 defections from the ranks of conservatives and CBC members put the measure in jeopardy on a procedural vote.

“Nancy Pelosi is a little bit like a Forest Service warden during a particularly dry summer in which there are little blazes springing up all over the place. Some of them can be easily contained, and others could grow into pretty serious forest fires,” said Ross Baker, a political science professor at Rutgers University in New Jersey.

Baker said Pelosi is not weaker than before but that the dynamics have shifted for her in short order.

“Her grasp is somewhat more tentative,” Baker said. “The obstacles that face her are just much more imposing than they were as recently as two years ago.”

Those obstacles include a tough election cycle and House Democrats’ desire to retaliate against the Senate for moving too slowly or too far to the middle. But when they vote no — whether they’re angry at Pelosi, the Democratic-controlled Senate or President Barack Obama — it is Pelosi’s tally that suffers.

There’s little room for the speaker to brook challenges on the controversial overhaul of the nation’s health care system, but her spokesman, Brendan Daly, said he’s not worried about residual effects of the Ways and Means Committee shake-up.

“I don’t think any of this was a challenge. As [Pelosi] said, now that’s behind us, and we’re going to move ahead,” Daly said. “We’re on the cusp of historic health reform, and she’s going to work very hard in the next few weeks to make sure that happens.”

Thomas Mann, a congressional scholar at the left-leaning Brookings Institution, said it’s hard to say Pelosi’s grip is slipping, because she never ruled with an iron fist.

“Pelosi’s strength has always been her ability to understand the diversity within her caucus and to figure out a way to bring [people] together when the tough votes come down,” Mann said. “I don’t see any change in her standing. She never had the capacity to issue orders.”

To be sure, Pelosi has pooled an immense reservoir of goodwill over the years, first as a talented rank-and-file Democrat and later as the leader who positioned Democrats to win, and then expand, a majority. Even in tough times, most of her fellow Democrats believe Pelosi is on their side.

“People know that her heart is right,” said Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.).

But that hasn’t stopped even some of Pelosi’s allies from bucking her in recent weeks.

In insisting that his resignation of the Ways and Means Committee chairmanship was only temporary — even though there is no such provision in House rules — Rangel said, “I wrote the letter and I wrote what I meant, and I said what I meant. If there’s anyone that needs clarification, it’s the speaker, not you.”

TOPICS: Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: house; insurrection; pelosi
All this is good.
1 posted on 03/09/2010 8:50:39 AM PST by Mrs. Don-o
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To: Mrs. Don-o

2 posted on 03/09/2010 8:51:34 AM PST by BradtotheBone (Moderate Democrat - A politician whose voting record leans left and whose vote can be bought.)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

3 posted on 03/09/2010 8:52:19 AM PST by devane617 (VOTE THEM OUT! ALL OF THEM!)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

hmmm....Politico setting up the Fall Gal for when the votes aren’t there on the 18th?

4 posted on 03/09/2010 8:55:14 AM PST by Buckeye McFrog
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To: Buckeye McFrog

But for a year she’s said she “has the votes”. ?

5 posted on 03/09/2010 8:56:37 AM PST by sarasota
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To: Mrs. Don-o

“Nancy Pelosi is a little bit like a Forest Service warden during a particularly dry summer in which there are little blazes springing up all over the place. Some of them can be easily contained, and others could grow into pretty serious forest fires,”

It’s enough to make one become an arsonist...

6 posted on 03/09/2010 8:58:45 AM PST by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

The single absolute worst Speaker of the House. Evah.

7 posted on 03/09/2010 9:00:21 AM PST by bergmeid (Gas up the truck and pedal to the metal!)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

She is like a lion tamer inside the cage and the lions are begining to understand there are blanks in the gun.

8 posted on 03/09/2010 9:02:17 AM PST by CIB-173RDABN
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To: Mrs. Don-o

Indeed. It’s all good.

9 posted on 03/09/2010 9:03:18 AM PST by paulcissa (The first requirement of Liberalism is to stand on your head and tell the world they're upside down)
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To: tet68

Paging Smokey the Bear.

10 posted on 03/09/2010 9:10:33 AM PST by kalee (The offences we give, we write in the dust; Those we take, we engrave in marble. J Huett 1658)
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To: sarasota
"But for a year she’s said she “has the votes”. ?"

She is a liar and a witch.

11 posted on 03/09/2010 9:11:27 AM PST by NoRedTape
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To: bergmeid
Pelosi thinks she is Eva Peron. May she end up like Elena Ceauşescu.
12 posted on 03/09/2010 9:20:19 AM PST by Vigilanteman (Obama: Fake black man. Fake Messiah. Fake American. How many fakes can you fit in one Zer0?)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

Maybe we will be fortunate enough to see her dive headlong into complete madness and hysteria. She has always appeared to ‘be on the edge’ ready to plunge. I knew another woman like that completely absorbed in power grabbing, evil and hate she would actually melt down in front of others; screaming and throwing true fits.
Only in Pelosi’s case, it will be a public/nationwide spectacle.

13 posted on 03/09/2010 9:29:05 AM PST by Outlaw Woman (If you remove the first Amendment, we'll be forced to move on to the next one.)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

Look at her pic on drudge, reminds me of the Emperor in the Star Wars movies. Just as evil

14 posted on 03/09/2010 9:30:40 AM PST by reefdiver ("Let His day's be few And another takes His office")
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To: reefdiver
15 posted on 03/09/2010 9:54:19 AM PST by Fred911 (YOU GET WHAT YOU ACCEPT)
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To: tet68
It’s enough to make one become an arsonist...

In the words of one of the Founding "Arsonists":

" does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority to set bush fires in people's minds"
-- Samuel Adams

16 posted on 03/09/2010 9:58:36 AM PST by Charles Martel ("Endeavor to persevere...")
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To: Mrs. Don-o

Slipping like her grip on sanity slipped long ago?

Seriously, she is a threat to Americans’ prosperity, peace, and general wellbeing.

17 posted on 03/09/2010 12:15:00 PM PST by MichiganConservative (A government big enough to do unto the people you don't like will get to doing unto you soon enough.)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

“Code Red” - House Target List on Health Care
The National Republican Congressional Committee has published a target list on health care. In addition to continuing to contact the five Tennessee Democrat Congressmen, you can go to contact some of these targets. Much of the talk following Obama’s announcement has focused on how to defeat this second bill through reconciliation, but that is misleading because the first step to defeating Obamacare is not by concentrating on defeating the “fixer” bill but by defeating the Senate bill in the House when it goes to the floor for an up-or-down vote on Thursday, March 18th.
Rep. Lincoln Davis 202-225-6831 Columbia office: 931-490-8699
Rep. Jim Cooper 202-225-4311 Nashville office: 615-736-5295
Rep. Bart Gordon 202-225-4231 Murfreesboro office: 615-896-1986
Rep. John S. Tanner 202-225-4714 Jackson office: 731-423-4848
Rep. Steve Cohen 202-225-3265 Memphis office: 901-544-4131


Defeat Obamacare call list: Courtsey of TN Eagle Forum: List now contains the new MAYBES culled from FR posts.


Harry Mitchell (202) 225-2190 (480) 946-2411 AZ 5th District
Gabrielle Giffords (202) 225-2542 (520) 881-3588 AZ 8th District
Ann Kirkpatrick (202) 225-2315 (928) 226-6914 AZ 1st District
Jerry McNerney (202) 225-1947 925-833-0643 CA 11th District
John Salazar 202-225-4761 970-245-7107 CO 3rd District
Jim Himes (202) 225-5541 (866) 453-0028 CT 4th District
Alan Grayson (202) 225-2176 (407) 841-1757 FL 8th District
Bill Foster (202) 225-2976 630-406-1114 IL 14th District
Baron Hill 202 225 5315 812 288 3999 IN 9th District
Mark Schauer (202) 225-6276 (517) 780-9075 MI 7th District
Gary Peters (202) 225-5802 (248) 273-4227 MI 9th District
Dina Titus (202) 225-3252 702-256-DINA (3462) NV 3rd District
Carol Shea-Porter (202) 225-5456 (603) 743-4813 NH 1st District
Tim Bishop (202) 225-3826 (631) 696-6500 NY 1st District
John Hall (202) 225-5441 (845) 225-3641 x49371 NY 19th District
Bill Owens (202) 225-4611 (315) 782-3150 NY 23rd District
Mike Arcuri (202)225-3665 (315)793-8146 NY 24th District
Dan Maffei (202) 225-3701 (315) 423-5657 NY 25th District
Earl Pomeroy (202) 225-2611 (701) 224-0355 ND At-Large District
Steven Driehaus (202) 225-2216 (513) 684-2723 OH 1st District
Mary Jo Kilroy (202) 225-2015 (614) 294-2196 OH 15th District
Zach Space (202) 225-6265 (330) 364-4300 OH 18th District
Kathy Dahlkemper (202) 225-5406 (814) 456-2038 PA 3rd District
Patrick Murphy (202) 225-4276 (215) 826-1963 PA 8th District
Christopher Carney (202) 225-3731 (570) 585-9988 PA 10th District
Paul Kanjorski (202) 225-6511 (570) 825-2200 PA 11th District
John Spratt (202) 225-5501 (803)327-1114 SC 5th District
Tom Perriello (202) 225-4711 (276) 656-2291 VA 5th District
Alan Mollohan (202) 225-4172 (304) 623-4422 WVA 1st District
Nick Rahall (202) 225-3452 (304) 252-5000 WVA 3rd District
Steve Kagen (202) 225-5665 (920) 437-1954 WI 8th District
Bart Gordon (202) 225-4231 TN (MAYBE)
Bart Stupak (202) 225 4735 MI (MAYBE)
Brian Baird (202) 225-3536, Vancouver, (360) 695-6292. Olympia, (360) 352-9768, (MAYBE)
senator mark begich (202) 224-3004 toll free. (877) 501 - 6275 just became a MAYBE
John Tanner (202) 225-4714, Union City, (731) 885-7070, Jackson Phone: (731) 423-4848, Millington (901) 873-5690 TN (MAYBE)
Jason Altmire 202-225-2565, Aliquippa, 724-378-0928, Natrona Heights, 724-226-1304 (MAYBE)

On the Bubble (Major developments from the “yes” and “no” columns in the House)

18 posted on 03/09/2010 4:22:33 PM PST by GailA (obamacare paid for by cuts & taxes on most vulnerable Veterans, disabled,seniors & retired Military)
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